This place is beautiful, it really is. I could just look at for days. The mountain, especially as dusk is absolutely stunning in the golden hues. And the night time temps are certainly getting nice.  Last night is the first time I was able to take my shirt off to sleep this year. Fifty two degrees, the same tonight, then up to fifty eight (if I’m still here by then.) And the mornings, those are nice.. almost a bit chill, if I wasn’t from Michigan. I kinda like it to be chill, it makes me enjoy my tea a bit more.

Yet, around ten am, something happens just as the sun is a bit more overhead than in the eastern sky. It gets warm, today was seventy six, that’s what the weather app says at least. In my car, covered with my ZP shade material, twelve volt fan blowing on the back of my neck, it was just over ninety five degrees. Looking at the app, it will be seventy nine on Wednesday, that will likely push my car over one hundred.

Just a bit much. Not that I mind the warm- it is nice. Yet the sun, it is so bright, so there, all day long, so there. There is no break from it, there is no shade here. I’m booked for two weeks here (no reservation fee if you don’t reserve, so I’ve got a full free stay here courtesy of my Annual Camper Pass,) yet I’m pretty darn sure I’m not staying that long. It is time to go north, I did my duty in the desert, I need not make myself suffer anymore.

I made a mistake today. Same one I’ve made a thousand times before I’m sure, yet now the penalties are higher. I over estimated myself.

I’ve walked a mile, up to four in day- and that was back in January at Lake Corpus Christi. Yet, I don’t walk the same now as I did then. Learning to walk, I am so sick of learning to walk. How many times have I done it now, three, four, five, six times? Yes, as a toddler of course, then twenty two.  Once I was back on two feet again, unknown to me (and sadly my doctors, different story) my hip was out of socket. Hurt like hell with every step, active pain with every step, not sore, not hurting, pain. Severe pain with every step from June until November.

It’s supposed to hurt they said, it’s PT, push harder, you can do it. Of course, have to remind myself that not one of my Physical Therapist had a clue that my hip was out of socket either (a ‘non-union’.) They didn’t know that when I said it hurt, I was right, it did hurt in a way it was not supposed to. My ankle too, broken, yet missed in the original incident, unnoticed by the doctor that cleared me to start weight bearing. It hurts I said, it’s supposed to they said.

It hurts me now, mentally, to know that I spent near a year of my life de-sensitizing myself to my own pain response. That I was so unsure of my own body, that I let others convince me it didn’t hurt so bad.

In retrospect, and this just occurred to me, I’m glad I was wearing a Fitbit, I could go back and count exactly (well, as best as the Fitbit records) how many agonizing steps I was forced to take due to.. due to.. Here’s the part, where do I properly assign that blame? The Florida doctors? The Florida hospital? The Jackson doctors? The Jackson hospital? The insurance company perhaps? The system?

In the end, I think that is it.  The system.  Yet, what does that mean?  Well, the system is designed to help people, and of course, to be cost efficient at doing so. So many routines and processes, that patients get pushed along as if on a conveyor belt. Out of surgery, into ICU, in a regular bed, into Rehab, two weeks and you’re done: go home, you’re fine now.  We gave you the process.

And, I’d bet a million dollars that the process works just great for the vast majority of people- if it didn’t, they would change it so it does.  Yet, we are all are unique individuals, and no two injuries are alike, why are the processes identical? Because it’s the process that works for most people. So what happens when you’re the square peg trying to go into that round hole? The system doesn’t work.

A month after my incident, I still couldn’t move my left leg. Normal? Nope. Any one investigate why not? Nope, just sent me on to PT. The more I complained and vocalized the current active pain with every step – six months after my incident – I was given drugs. When it wasn’t enough, they just gave me more.  That’s the system.  See if someone complains of pain six months after an accident, they just think you want drugs. And it’s easier for them to just give them to you, than say no.  They just have you sign a drug agreement letter.  You have to promise to only get your drugs from your doctor.

Where am I going with this? I don’t know, a few paragraphs of some lingering latent anger I suppose. I’ve never been less angry than I have been this year. You wanna know what might solve my remaining anger? Some righteous re-imbursement.  Maybe if I had a dollar for every step my doctor told me I was ready to take (wasn’t it his job to check my body first?)

Of course, that’s where the blame game starts, whose fault was it anyway? Also, this is where I’d have to just hand it to a lawyer and let him  sue them all I guess.  Yet is it the doctors fault?

When I used to be a skydive instructor, I would often help my students debrief their jumps, and one line I love is “Make better decisions sooner”.  Often a student with a off landing (not making back home to the airport, rather landing “off” the property,) would begin there story by telling me where they were at when they started their landing pattern (for as much a pattern that they might have had) and go from there. It was my job to back them up and ask where they were at two thousand feet, three thousand feet, breakoff altitude. Where were they on jump run? If you tell a story, you have to start at the beginning.  (And yes, the beginning of my incident story will come soon..)

My body has been broken beyond believe, and I had to live out my worst fear, again.  I’m not afraid of dying. I’m afraid of almost dying. You know, not quite enough to take your life, just enough to make you wish it had. The first time was when I was thirteen, I almost drowned crossing the ice on a shortcut across Round Lake in Michigan Center late at night (ha, I’d snuck out actually.) Alone crossing the ice at night and you hear a crack, there really isn’t much worse than than. Other than the next crack or the first icy embrace of the cold water in your pants. Or that realization that you’re gonna die when the ice keeps breaking as you try to climb out. Or really, that tear in your eye and in your heart when you ask God to please, please just let me die quickly. I don’t want to do this anymore.

I don’t want to do this anymore. I made a mistake today and I over estimated myself again and it hurt bad.  At Brantley Lake last month, I learned how to walk, again. Now it’s more like I’m supposed to (I think, I’m not a physical therapist) with my knee, ankle and toe all in the same direction throughout my step. To do so, I have to use all kinds of muscles that are so weak in my legs and combinations that I still haven’t figured out. One to pull my upper thigh in (else my hip will swing my leg out, one of the old ways I walked) yet at the same time another muscle to pull my lower leg out, and another to extend my leg out reaching for the step, and another to pull my toe up.. all at the same time.

Anyway, it’s been going really well. Well, the trek poles make it easy and I’m learning to straighten out my lower back and sacrum while I walk too, kinda.. it hurts when I try yet it is getting better. In fact after climbing the hill my legs feel stronger and the last day or two, I’ve been walking to the restroom without the cane or the trek poles and while continuing to walk in my latest learned way to walk, with good posture and all. Of course, the bathroom is only six hundred feet away. Then I sit and take a break before the return trip.

Today I decided to take a shower, was necessary. The shower house here (now I know) is just over a half mile away, three thousand feet. To take a shower, I need my shower bag (one of Cole’s old lunchboxes.. a zippered fabric container big enough for all my bathroom stuff) and my towel.  Now, I only brought one towel with me, so of course it’s the biggest one I had. Anyway, the point is, my hands were full.

I thought about it for a second, I suppose I could have driven over there, yet I don’t like to even start the car when I’m parked camping. Without another thought, I figured I’ll be fine and I took off to the shower house with my bathroom bag in one hand and my towel in the other.  If this was Brantley, and I could have walked a straight line, I might have been okay. Yet the (very pokey) vegetation here is just too thick for cross country walking, I have to stick to the paths and asphalt.

And I suppose that is where the problem began. From my site, I had to walk almost all the way to the visitor center, uphill. Then turn into the regular campground loop, back down the same hill where then the loop turns and goes back up the hill. Just over half a mile.

That’s all it took. I don’t know what broken down first. It surely starts with the leg weakness, yet then I think my hip tries to “help”. Which that just seems to put more pressure on my sacrum, trying to move back and forth with my hips- as if the whole thing down there wasn’t still being held together with a pair of six inch bolts through each of my S/I joints.  Now, every step hurts and all PT taught me was to grin and bear it and keep on trucking. I don’t know what the pain threshold is supposed to be, yet I do know I shouldn’t have to cry to walk.

About he time I rounded the loop at the bottom of it’s hill and had to walk back up the same hill again, I kinda lost it. Gruntly and pushing and breathing, my whole face contorted in pain.  I know it was the worse yet- I passed a couple walking a dog and didn’t even try to smile or pretend I was okay. I was not okay, I am not okay.

The shower was good, very good.  A handicapped shower stall so I could sit down. I’ve seen a few of these now, yet this was the first that had two shower nozzles. One where you would expect it, and another about waist high. Unless you’re sitting down, then the lower one is right at head level.  This was, not that I really think of it, one of my best showers in a long time. I could sit and shower simultaneously.

Then I had to walk back.  Whether from the lack of leg strength, inability to properly control my ankle, the bolts in my sacrum, the screws in my spine, the syringomyelia, the spasticity, and/or whatever causes the pains in my left abdomen, it was bad and I really didn’t think I was going to make it back to my site, yet I did. And haven’t moved since. Wait- I did once, to walk up the bathroom, just six hundred feet up that same damn hill (the park here is at the base of the mountain, kinda the foot hill I guess.  The entire park is on a slope- East is up, West is down.  And guess what- no trails go north or south. Everything is uphill or down hill. Yet for that walk I took my trek poles, letting me carry a good part of my weight on my arms and the sticks, and it still hurt so much that I had to sit down for twenty minutes on the shitter before I was willing to try to walk back.

I’m leaving this place, it’s not for me, it’s a bit too warm, it’s bit too sloped. This isn’t the first time this has occurred to me, most of yesterday I was planning out my next stop, one place looked nice Morphy Lake State Park.. a few hours north, and few thousand feet higher in altitude- that should cool things off a bit.  I’m just not sure how level their walking paths are – I need enough to make me stronger and not even to make me want to die.  Some thing I can feel good about achieving, and be able to do it again the next day.

I probably would have left today, yet I’m currently waiting. (Had this place worked out better, the wait would be fine.. yet now, I’m waiting to leave.  Waiting for a package to arrive (guess how many times I’ve refreshed the tracking page?) It was due to arrive today, yet at eight pm I received a text that my package had arrived in El Paso, so hopefully it will be here in Alamogordo tomorrow. If so, I’ll go to town tomorrow, get the package, restock my food supplies and prepare to leave the next morning.

Yet, even today did have a bit of grace.  Maybe an hour after the shower, as I was sitting in my car trying to recover, I was pretty disappointed in myself. I wouldn’t be able to take another walk to get another picture for today’s post.  And as I thought it, a bird came to land on my windshield wiper and looked at me. I just looked and smiled (my first in several hours.) With just a few second delay, I reached for my phone and opened the camera app and the bird stood still. Still got my photo for the day. And, almost a second one too. As I was sitting in my car a hummingbird came by (such a sound they make hovering like they do) yet he was not waiting for my camera at all.

Okay, enough of this. Not my best day. I’ve always had such high hopes for myself, always thinking I had it in me to push hard enough to achieve success in this world. A world that has usually told me I’m not as good as I think I am. Ends up the world is right. I was barely capable of hanging even with others before, and now.. now it’s just a joke. I can’t do shit. A day of my life spent to take a shower. I can no longer deny my inadequacies.

Nor can I deny that, someone (and I suppose I’ll let the lawyer find out who after he hears my whole story,) is liable to help me support myself, and it sure as heck isn’t the government.  Don’t act in anger.  I didn’t.  I’m calm now.  And calmly, I’m gonna hire a lawyer to sue the fuck out of the person or institutions that are responsible for my current condition. Honestly, with every thing that happened in twenty two, it feels like a crime was committed against me- as if someone was intentionally trying to take me out of this world.

One thing I did learn this year, is that you don’t want to wait too long to make a claim. Statutes of limitations are thing. Okay, tomorrow will be better than today. And the sooner I stop, the sooner today ends and the sooner tomorrow can get here.

Time to rest.

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